Mulberry trees (Morus spp.) enjoyed popularity in years past as ornamental shade trees as well as for their copious edible fruit, which can be eaten raw or made into luscious preserves, pies and wine. Interested in learning about how to grow mulberry trees? Read out all about growing mulberry fruit trees and mulberry tree care.
Non GMO Mulberry Tree 無基改桑葚樹
How to Grow Mulberry Trees
Mulberry trees bear small, unremarkable blooms that become plentiful fruits that look much akin to a slender blackberry. The berries ripen in stages and drop from the tree as they mature. The trees are hardy to USDA zones 4/5 to 8 depending upon the variety. They prefer full sun and rich soil but will tolerate part shade and a variety of soils. They are easy to transplant, salt tolerant and perfect for erosion control, not to mention the delicious berries. Some cultivars are wind-resistant and make wonderful windbreaks. Deciduous trees, all three species attain various sizes. White mulberry can grow to 80 feet, red mulberry around 70 feet and the smaller black mulberry may get to 30 feet in height. Black mulberries can live for hundreds of years, while red mulberry maxes out at 75 years of age. Mulberry trees should be planted in full sun with no less than 15 feet between trees, ideally in warm, well-draining soil such as deep loam. Don’t plant them near a sidewalk unless you don’t mind the staining or the potential tracking in of squashed berries (of course, if this is a problem for you, there is a fruitless mulberry variety too!). Once the tree has established, there is very little additional mulberry tree care required.
How to Care for a Mulberry Tree
There really isn’t too much to worry about with this hardy specimen. The trees are fairly drought tolerant but will benefit from some irrigation during the dry season. Mulberries do well without additional fertilization, but a 10-10-10 application, once per year will keep them healthy. Mulberries are even primarily free from most pests and disease. Pruning Mulberry Trees Prune young trees into a tidy form by developing a set of main branches. Prune lateral branches to 6 leaves in July to facilitate the growth of spurs near the main limbs. Do not prune heavily since mulberries are prone to bleeding at the cuts. Avoid cuts of more than 2 inches, which will not heal. If you prune when the tree is in its dormancy, bleeding is less severe. Thereafter, only judicious pruning of mulberry trees is necessary, really only to remove dead or overcrowded branches.
You will probably not find mulberries at the grocers (maybe at the farmers market) because of their short shelf life. But, if you live in USDA zones 5-9, you can enjoy your very own mulberry tree harvest. The question is when to pick mulberries? This leads to a follow up question of how to pick mulberries? Read on to find the answers.
Mulberry Tree Harvest
Mulberry trees attain a height of between 20-30 feet. They make lovely, fast-growing landscape trees with the added bonus of producing delicious berries and leaves suitable for steeping as tea. The berries are really the stand out though. They look much like elongated blackberries and are sinfully sweet. Starting a mulberry tree from seed can be difficult. The seed needs 90 days of cold, moist stratification and even then has a low germination rate. If you dislike failure, it might be advisable to purchase a young tree, especially if you want fruit quicker for harvesting. Mulberry trees like full sun in moist, slightly acidic soil (pH of about 6.0). They need to be planted deep enough to support their extensive root system. A little patience is required before you can begin harvesting the mulberry trees. It will take about three years before you can sample the fruits of your labor and mulberry harvesting can commence. Mulberry harvesting season begins in mid-June through August. You will be looking for fruit that is large, black and sweet, so yes, a taste test is in order. If the fruit is ripe, then what?
How to Pick Mulberries
The time for harvesting the mulberry trees has arrived. There are two methods for picking the fruit. You can hand pick it, which depending upon your disposition can be tedious or relaxing, or you can use an old sheet or tarp to hasten the process. Spread the tarp under the mulberry tree and then shake the branches. Gather up all the fallen berries. Take care not to layer the berries too deep in the container or you will end up with a lot of crushed berries. If you can keep your hands off them, mulberries will keep in the refrigerator, unwashed in a covered container for several days. Or freeze the berries for later use. Wash them and gently pat them dry, then pack them in freezer bags. Frozen berries will store for several months.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Mulberry Tree Harvest: Tips On How To Pick Mulberries
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